Thursday, 12 September 2013

You Choose How To Spend County Council Budget

Residents are being put in the budget setting driving seat by Cambridgeshire County Council.

‘You Choose’ is a county-wide survey, launched this week to ask residents to put themselves in the seat of councillors in making decisions where to invest and save money.

Cambridgeshire County Council is expected to make further savings over the next year of around £39 million. This is following savings of £42 million last year, and a further £32 million this current financial year. These savings have to be made whilst supporting and investing in services such as adult social care, protecting children, boosting the economy and looking after roads and transport.

Cambridgeshire Residents are being asked to give us their views on where we should be saving money, through an online consultation and face-to-face surveys. The consultation is set up to appear as a budget simulator, allowing residents to show the County Council what decisions they would make regarding Council Tax levels and individual service levels and budgets.

It means residents will deal with similar choices and pressures to those councillors face when trying to balance the budget. This year the budget has to be balanced with 7.1 per cent less money from Government and increased pressures on services from inflation and rising demography.

It has been designed to be easy to use so that people can see what effects their decisions have. No decisions have been made by the Council and the choices and options are indicative of some of the issues being faced.

If people are unable to complete the web survey at http://www.youchoose.yougov.com/Cambridgeshire comments about the Council’s priorities or ideas for delivering services better or more efficiently can be sent to:

Research & Performance Team: Budget Consultation,
SH1306 Shire Hall,
Castle Hill,
Cambridge CB3 0AP

Councillor Martin Curtis, Leader of the County Council said: “Councils across the land have some hard decisions to make and we want Cambridgeshire residents to have a big say in ours. You Choose puts residents at the heart of the decision making, having to face the challenges we do to balance the budget. No decisions have bean made at this point, but like last year, the suggestions and priorities indicated by residents will help shape the budget.

“The County Council services are very wide-ranging and touch everyone’s lives. From looking after young people and adults during vulnerable periods in their lives to maintaining the County’s roads and recycling rubbish. But with less money from Government and increasing demographic and inflation pressures we have to find millions of pounds in savings while delivering front line services.

“The County Council has worked hard to be efficient and we saved £42 million last year, and a further £32 million this current financial year. But next year we have to find further savings of £39 million. You Choose is an easy to use survey which will put residents right at the heart of making those decisions and we can use this to help shape our budget and priorities for the future.”

The consultation closes on November 30.